Skip to main content

Full text of "History And Human Relation"

See other formats


drastic revision, but rather the whole organisation of
the story. In other words, the effect of the revision
fa|ls most of all on that region where our moral lessons,
our teaching-conclusions and our verdicts have their
roots. In a manner that we cannot imagine or quite
foretell our historical conclusions are liable to be trans-
formed and wrenched into a different shape when for
fifty years English, German, French and American
scholars have co-operated in the gigantic task of
historical revision. Professor Trevelyan said in his
Inaugural Lecture in Cambridge that the world would be
liable to be plunged into bloodshed if teachers and
students disseminated wrong history. There can be no
doubt of this ; *but any generation that looks back to any
previous generation can hardly close its eyes to the fact
that wrong history is being taught in all countries, all
the time, unavoidably. Research is being constantly
conducted by thousands of people over the globe for
the purpose of correcting it. And the corrections—
especially in the case of comparatively recent history—
. are often very surprising and disconcerting.

History, in fact, is so dangerous a subject—and so
often it is the sinister people like a Machiavelli or a
Napoleon or a Lenin who learn " tricks of the trade "
from it, before the majority of people have thought of
doing so—that we might wonder whether it would not
be better for the world to forget all of the past, better
to have no memories at all, and just to face the future
without ever looking back. We must teach history,
however, precisely because so much bad history exists
in the world already. Bad history is in the air we